Development processes have considerably changed since we first started Making Sense. Not only do developers and project stakeholders have new technological advances to leverage, but there are also new strategies like Agile and DevOps shifting the way we carry out tasks. No matter what approach teams take, however, it’s important to ensure that everyone remains on the same page, having a shared focus.
So, when it comes to software development, how can companies help guarantee that Project Teams remain connected and work seamlessly together? Let’s take a look at a few touchstones that we’ve learned over the years for keeping a software project on track and unified during a development process:
Ensure teams are aligned from the start
What we do first, is to encourage collaboration and communication from the get-go. If an expressed goal during the project is to keep all stakeholders involved and informed, each individual will bring this practice into their process as they work. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that teams understand the importance of remaining on the same page from the very start.
Besides, it’s important creating a roadmap. This will help you to plan and see where you and your team are going.
Understand the requirements of each team
One of the challenges that I face when creating Project Teams, is not straying. To avoid this, we must ensure that every developer and group understands the needs and requirements of their peers. This will help keep everyone involved informed, and make sure they remain in step with each other, keeping team members focused on what they should be doing.
It is essential to understand the tasks and strategies each team will be using. This helps us to better plan the project and to ensure that the specific processes of one team take place as another team is working on other tasks. If so, members will become engaged with the project and up to date.
Standardize language and jargon
As a COO, I’m aware of the importance of the constant fluency that a project must have while developing, and one factor that can quickly put the brakes on a development project is when team members do not understand each other. Particularly when discussing separate Project Teams, it’s important to know that members of different groups may use unfamiliar language. I recommend standardizing jargon to ensure effective communication.
Tech Product Management contributor Daniel Elizalde, wrote: “Once your designers and developers start working together, you’ll find they speak different languages. To make things worse, both camps use some of the same terms to mean different things. I suggest identifying those quickly and setting some ground rules on the terminology the team should adopt moving forward.”
It would be very helpful to provide a unified standard of terms and designs for development projects including websites, software, online communities and intranets. In this way, stakeholders and our team members can utilize the same language and better understand one another, even if they are on different Project Teams.
Bring teams together with users
It is also considerably telling for Project Teams to see how users leverage the product they are working on. We’ve grasped that after certain sprints and processes are completed, it can be helpful to bring actual users into the fold in order to see how they will interact with the product and how teams can work to improve it. This will not only benefit the overall UX of the project, but will help keep teams aligned.
Communication is key
We ensure that team members have time to talk to one another, and discuss important elements of the project. I recommend holding round table discussions that include every Project Team so that developers can talk about improvements and opportunities as well as weaknesses or vulnerabilities. In addition to the individual details, it’s essential to keep the big picture in mind during these discussions.
“It is also important for each individual to understand how they are contributing to the overall success of the product and the company,” Elizalde wrote. “Knowing the big picture will help them understand the trade-offs and the ‘why’ behind the many decisions [Product Managers] make every day.”
We use scrum methodologies that provide the opportunity to structure cross-functional teams. This contributes to the participation of the different members, bringing valuable inputs and sharing ideas, enriching the development process.
This is the Making Sense way. We put into practice these tips to develop our Software Projects and we learned that collaboration is essential in successful product development.